The failure of the messengers of King Nebuchadnezzar (Jdt 1:7-1:11)

“Then King Nebuchadnezzar of the Assyrians sent messengers to all who lived in Persia. He sent messengers to all who lived in the west, those who lived in Cilicia, Damascus, Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon. He sent messengers to all who lived along the seacoast. He sent messengers to those nations of Carmel, Gilead, Upper Galilee, the great Plain of Esdraelon, Samaria and its surrounding towns, and beyond the Jordan as far as Jerusalem, Bethany, Chelous, and Kadesh. He even sent messengers to the river of Egypt, Tahpanhes, Raamses, the whole land of Goshen, even beyond Tanis and Memphis, to all who lived in Egypt as far as the borders of Ethiopia. But all who lived in the whole region disregarded the summons of King Nebuchadnezzar of the Assyrians. They refused to join him in the war. They were not afraid of him, but regarded him as only one man. So they sent back his messengers empty-handed and in disgrace.”

King Nebuchadnezzar sent messengers into Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Egypt to get people to fight with him. These were the people west of Babylon. However, in none of these areas did anybody respond to him because they were not afraid of him. He was just one man living in a faraway place. Thus his messengers returned empty-handed and disgraced.

The audience with Pharaoh (Gen 47:1-47:6)

“So Joseph went and told Pharaoh, ‘My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan.  They are now in the land of Goshen.’   From among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh.  Pharaoh said to his brothers, ‘What is your occupation?’  They said to Pharaoh, ‘Your servants are shepherds, as our ancestors were.’  They said to Pharaoh, ‘We have come to reside as aliens in the land.  There is no pasture for your servants’ flocks because the famine is severe in the land of Canaan.  Now, we ask you let your servants settle in the land of Goshen.’  Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Your father and your brothers have come to you.  The land of Egypt is before you.  Settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land.  Let them live in the land of Goshen.  If you know that there are capable men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.’”

When five of the brothers came to Pharaoh, he asked them their occupation, and they said that they were shepherds like their ancestors.  They wanted to reside as aliens.  Due to the famine, they wanted to settle in Goshen.  Pharaoh said okay and that they could be in charge of his livestock also.  This seems to working out fine.

The welcome of Joseph (Gen 46:28-46:34)

“Israel sent Judah ahead to Joseph, to lead the way before him into Goshen.  When they came into the land of Goshen, Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to meet Israel his father Israel in Goshen.  He presented himself to him, and fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.  Israel said to Joseph, ‘I can die now, having seen for myself that you are still alive.’  Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, ‘I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and will say to him, `My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me.  The men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock.  They have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.’   When Pharaoh calls you, and says, `What is your occupation?’ you shall say, `Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our ancestors.’  Thus you may dwell in the land of Goshen, because all shepherds are abhorrent to the Egyptians.”

Israel sent Judah ahead to meet Joseph. Joseph, on the other hand, went out with his chariots to meet them in Goshen as he went to his father and wept on his neck.  Weeping on the neck seems like the emotional greeting that they did every time.  Israel responded that he can die now, seeing that Joseph was still alive.  Joseph said that he was going to see Pharaoh and told his family to say that they were shepherds, because the Egyptians do not like shepherds, so that they would be able to stay isolated in Goshen.